If you, like me, open your Instagram only to be bombarded by everyone and their mother vacationing in Italy or Greece, just flip on Below Deck Mediterranean to join in on the action. We are back with our fearless leader Captain Sandy and hitting the high seas of Malta aboard the Home, a 163-foot sleek superyacht.
Readers, I want to be up-front. I am a Bravo bitch through and through. I remember tuning in to the early seasons of The Real Housewives of Orange County in middle school. However, I am new to Mediterranean. That being said: I already miss Malia. I barely knew her, and yet I mourn her. Our new bosun Raygan Tyler is incapable of doing anything besides taking a cheeky cig break, and her deckhand boys are mere minutes away from rising in mutiny to overthrow her. Even Captain Sandy is already at her wit’s end, just three episodes in! This, however, is nothing compared to the bombshell of Dave and Natasha’s furtive relationship. We have so much to cover, and we’re just getting started! Buckle up, babes, because we are setting sail.
Let’s break down Dave and Natasha from the beginning. The big reveal of tonight’s episode is that we know now the couple is an actual couple. For those who missed their history, the two just got off working on another ship together before coming aboard Home. Natasha sings his praises to Captain Sandy before he arrives, and when they reunite, there is obvious chemistry. I didn’t think the pair were secretly boyfriend and girlfriend, but I did think they were friends with benefits or at least had crushes on each other. Because there are only three female crew members, Natasha volunteers to room with Dave — this move made me a petit peu suspicious but also appreciative of her taking one for the team. She’s chief stew, after all, so if anyone has to bunk in co-ed quarters, it should be her. Call me naïve, but I wasn’t even fazed by her asking Dave if he wanted to screw on the first night, but in hindsight, his affirmative nod definitely comes from a man in love, not lust.
Fast-forward to tonight’s episode. The crew is out on the town after wrapping up their first charter (more on this, primary guest Billy Rodriguez, and Kyle’s dildo pranks later) and eating good after securing a fat $27,000 tip. Natalya and Kyle suspect a romance between Dave and Natasha, and Natalya takes her chance to grill the chef about it when Natasha gets up from the table. There is a clear shift in Dave’s energy. He’s hiding something. He’s even cagey during his confessional. Then, we get the truth: Natasha and Dave are dating! And their relationship started on the last boat … while she was still with her ex-boyfriend.
Dave spills all the tea here. He reveals that they agreed to keep their relationship on the down-low for a week, so Natasha could keep her timelines clear. Thanks for blowing up her spot, Dave! Anyway, Dave waxes poetic about their affair, citing the passion of sneaking around, while Natasha shares how Dave won her heart by paying her lots of compliments like, “You look rad!”
A lot more is making sense to me now. Remember in the second episode when Natasha and Jason were innocently flirting in the galley, and Dave looked on with a vengeance, completely pausing his meal prep? Well, now we know it’s because, at the time, Natasha was his girlfriend! Of course he was pissed! Please don’t mistake this admission for actual empathy for Dave. Though I’m known to be horny for chefs (hello, The Bear!), Dave’s jealousy jumped out and turned me right off. After he admits to Natalya that her instincts are correct and there’s more between him and Natasha than they let on, he goes 0 to 100. Natasha says she feels suffocated, and Dave makes passive comments about Jason to Natasha (referring to him as her lover) before drunkenly trying to fight him. Jason, meanwhile, pulls a Meredith Marks and gorgeously disengages. Once they get back to the boat, Natasha sleeps in the guest cabin while Dave sobs himself to sleep. Dark.
The next day, Dave and Natasha messily text each other before presumably fucking in the shower for a solid 28 minutes, according to Bravo. Really looking forward to how this plays out!
Okay, now that Datasha is out of the way, let’s talk about the flop that is Raygan (and yes, every time I spell out her name, an angel loses its wings). How did this girl get the job? She simply sucks at it! She has zero direction, abysmal leadership skills, and no alcohol tolerance to speak of. The morning after the crew’s first night out, she pukes and crawls back into bed, despite new guests arriving in mere hours. She drags herself to the preference sheet meeting, where she claims she’s sick. Captain Sandy sees through these lies and tells her it’s “called a hangover.” Captain Sandy gets harsh with Raygan in this episode not once, not twice, but three times. She warns her that she’ll be pissed if the water sports aren’t out and inflated first thing each morning, and lo and behold, Raygan fails once again. She tries to throw Jason under the bus and breaks the cardinal rule of openly fighting with him in front of the guests, who turn back to watch the show a number of times.
This sends Captain Sandy over the edge. “Raygan,” she calls out, “come here for a second … It’s complete chaos back there.” Raygan starts to make excuses, which Captain Sandy swiftly stops. “I don’t want to hear you complain. I want you to do your job,” she tells the bosun. Raygan is walking on thin ice here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets fired within the next couple of episodes. I’m sure her deckies — Mzi, Jason, and Storm — would be more than happy with that outcome. Side note: I love all three of these boys — especially Mzi, whom Captain Sandy clearly favors and is aligned with — but feel like Jason might go crazy? I also think Storm and Natalya will hook up shortly.
Natalya, the second stew who could pass as Natasha’s twin, could also easily have a second career as a laundry livestreamer. This girl loves laundry more than life, and I predict she will have a lot of success in the ASMR-livestreaming space. Kyle, the other second stew, would probably also find online fame. Call me a conservative, but I was in utter disbelief that Kyle pulled the dildo stunts with the first charter. Tacky and unprofessional! Clearly, the guests were cool with it, as they tipped well and praised the interior team, but I wonder what Captain Sandy would say about his role-playing and generally relaxed demeanor around guests. If he keeps this attitude up, time will tell.
From the Galley
• First primary guest Billy Rodriguez sending back his rare Wagyu steak made me feel so ashamed to be American. I felt wildly victorious on behalf of the crew after he double-checked his preference sheet, only to discover he never noted his hatred of cinnamon.
• When the boat lost function of its stabilizers, I thought the whole crew were goners. Those who watch Below Deck Sailing Yacht were definitely experiencing some PTSD from the anchor watch gone wrong earlier this summer.
• I think that Natasha could give Tom Sandoval a run for his money in the bespoke-cocktail department. Those pineapple upside-down cake shots?!